July 20th – One flower that’s doing particularly well at the moment is purple loosestrife. I see it mainly by the canals but is seems fairly widespread.
This short but vivid examples were growing from the canal bracing rail by Catshill Junction and are absolutely divine.
July 12th – One indicator of an advancing summer I always have mixed feelings about is buddleia. This purple-flowering, profuse shrub, sometimes known as the butterfly bush is great for bugs and bees and lepidoptera of all kinds – but the one issue I have is it’s the shrub of urban decay.
This versatile plant will grow anywhere it can find – gutters, chimneys, soot-filled fissures in brickwork, and once it takes hold it will destroy masonry as it grows. It’s the sign of dereliction in summer, growing old disused rail lines, factory yards and edgelands of all types.
A fascinating, but destructive plant.
July 12th – I was pleased to note that one little purple flower has returned this year to the verge outside the place where I work – Self Heal. It grows low in grass and often misses the mowers. It has a very unusual flower head configuration featuring absolutely tiny but gorgeous violet blooms.
The plant, given it’s name as you might expect, is known for it’s medicinal properties, and brings a splash of colour to lawns and verges throughout middle to late summer.
July 6th – No apparent issues with the thistles this year, however. In fact it seems a good year for them – prickly and purple, they are flowering well and in larger number than I’ve seen for a good few years – so as I suspect, water probably isn’t an issue for them like the berries, hips and haws of the hedgerows above.
The colours – from pale lavender to deep, dark purple – are always a joy. Thisles are very underrated indeed in my opinion.
July 3rd – Growing along just about every lane, track, cycleway and footpath at the moment, a very much overlooked purple wildflower.
No, not thistle, but knapweed. Similar, knapweed is not hostile or prickly, but flowers similarly in strong purple, a favourite of pollinators and a great source of high quality nectar, it’s seeds feeding many songbirds too.
Sometimes the best flowers fly under the radar.
June 28th – One thing that is absolutely beautiful this year and I haven’t mentioned to my shame is the vetch. This beautiful, delicate purple flower is absolutely everywhere and very beautiful.
It’s one of my favourite summer flowers and lasts for ages, whilst growing in some of the most inhospitable edge lands.
A real summer treasure.
June 27th – Since we’re in high, hot summer we’re now in a phase of darker flowers – purples, reds, dark blues. And that means the thistles are coming out.
Spotted flowering on industrial wasteland in Pleck, this gorgeous thistle was alive with tiny back bugs.
I immediately felt sorry for the plant. But who knows? They may have been doing it good…
Fascinating, all the same.
May 31st – A very poor photo with lousy focus, but another first for the season: My beloved beauties the orchids are coming into bloom.
They don’t last long, so keep an eye out on canal embankments, meadows and wetlands. We have a number of varieties, and these mall flowers are always tiny perfection.
The slug seemed to be enjoying them too – this example was on the bank of the new pond at Clayhanger.